Reciprocal associations between adolescent peer relationships and sleep

Kelly M. Tu, Tianying Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The present study investigated the bidirectional associations of adolescent peer experiences and sleep/wake problems during early adolescence. Design: The study used a two-wave longitudinal design. Setting: Participants were recruited from a small urban community in the Midwestern United States. Participants: At T1, participants included 100 adolescents (53% boys; mean age = 11.05 years, SD = 0.33) and their mothers (96% biological), and 78 teachers (62% female). At T2, 89 adolescents and their mothers returned; 76 teachers participated. The racial/ethnic composition of the sample of adolescents and mothers included 57%–63% European American and 43%–37% racial/ethnic minorities (e.g., African American, Hispanic/Latino). Measurements: At both waves, adolescents reported on their sleep quality (sleep/wake problems). Adolescent-, mother-, and teacher-reported peer victimization were composited at each wave, and a composite for positive peer relationships included adolescent-reported friendship quality; adolescent-, mother-, and teacher-reported friends’ prosociality; and mother- and teacher-reported peer acceptance. Results: Findings from cross-lagged panel models revealed some support for reciprocal associations such that T1 positive peer relationships predicted fewer T2 sleep problems and T1 sleep problems predicted less positive peer relationships at T2. However, only T1 sleep problems predicted more peer victimization at T2, controlling for T1 peer victimization, with the effect driven by adolescent-reported peer victimization. Conclusions: Findings provide new insight for prevention and intervention efforts regarding the potential protective function of positive peer relationships in reducing sleep problems, as well as the need to address sleep problems as a means to promote more positive peer relationships and less peer victimization over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSleep Health
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Adolescence
  • Peer relationships
  • Peer victimization
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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